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230105 | Public being urged to wear masks amid Covid rise; Cornwall has an estimated 72,153 active cases

Public being urged to wear masks amid Covid rise

Wearing masks in public: How do you feel about it?

There has been a rise in the number of Covid cases over the last few weeks, along with a new strain of Covid (XXB.1.5) but should this mean a reintroduction of masks?

Ben Gordon

Across the UK, fears are rising about a new strain of Covid, along with rises in the number of cases being diagnosed. With conflicting factors an obvious worry, there have been calls to reinstate a 'masks in public' rule. We want to know how you would feel about that.

The XXB.1.5 Covid variant has already been detected in other parts of the country, with reports suggesting that it is detected in 1 in 25 Covid cases. Speculation is rife but a new variant could have a significant impact on the population's health.

There are growing concerns that the new variant could put extra pressures on the NHS, as it already battles high flu cases and strep A. Professor Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser at UKHSA, said unwell people should avoid going out unless it's urgent.

It follows on from similar advice issued from England's Transport Secretary, who primarily advised people get vaccinated for both flu and coronavirus, but also said wearing a mask is “sensible”. Mark Harper told LBC: “If you do go out, clearly wearing a mask is very sensible if you are ill."

In the South West, Covid has been becoming a more prominent factor once more, with hospitals beginning to put out warnings. In Plymouth, there are already concerns about A&E wait times and a rise in Covid cases could put yet more stress on an already struggling health service.

Over the Christmas period, Somerset saw a rise in the R number which could suggest a worrying amount of Covid in the county. A 23% rise in the South West at large means that many are beginning to wonder whether this could be the start of something more serious. With that said, this may not be the case and with Spring on the horizon, things should only start to improve.

However, things do start to get a little scarier when we look to Cornwall, which now has the highest number of active Covid-19 cases since start of pandemic. The Zoe Covid Symptom study has predicted an active case number of 129,274 per million on the morning of January the 5th and a further case number of 72,153. With these numbers on the table, can we really afford to be resting on our laurels?

So, how do we address the problem? Masks have been touted as a surefire way to help the spread of Covid but how would you feel about a return to masks? Let us know by answering the poll above.

Masks have long been suggested as a surefire and efficient defence against a rise in Covid numbers but are they really that useful? And even if they are, is a mandatory return to them fair on the public? If you have anything else to say, please let us know in the comments section below.

Cornwall has an estimated 72,153 active cases; Across the UK, 3,293,888 people are currently predicted to have symptomatic Covid-19 | 5 JAN 2023

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